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looking at that so-called fiscal cliff that's looming, we're looking at different aspects of it. and today we turn our attention to the alternative minimum tax and the patch that could come from congress if they're able to work out a deal. if they do nothing, this will impact 30 million americans. joining us to discuss is georgetown law's john buckley. thank you for being here. john buckley, let's begin. what is the alternative minimum tax? >> guest: well, in very simple terms, the tax requires you to pay the greater of what you pay under the regular income tax or what you would compute under the minimum tax which has a slightly broader base. it disallows some deductions that would be allowed in the regular tax. in some respects it's very similar to the cap on itemized deductions that's currently being discussed. rather than directly attack preferences and expenditures, it essentially puts an overall cap on the benefit. there's no new ideas in this debate. the cap bears a very strong relationship to how the alternative minimum tax works. >> host: here is the form 6251 from the irs for the
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